DCS Colour Casts

Started Jun 6, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Ashley Pomeroy
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DCS Colour Casts
Jun 6, 2011

I posted this over at Nikonweb, but I thought I'd put it here as well. I've long been puzzled by the slightly odd, magneta, purplish colours I often get from my DCS 560, and it seemed that Kodak's DCS cameras had a purple colour balance in general. I always assumed it was infrared contamination.

This seems to have carried through to the full-frame models; the image comparison on this very site, here:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/kodakdcs14n/page18.asp

shows the 14n pumping out distinctive purple skies, especially set next to the 1Ds. On a tangent I've recently bought a Nikon D1, just to see what it was like, and I remember the D1 having the same problem, apparently because it was calibrated with NTSC monitors. DPReview suggests a quick profile change to NTSC and then back to sRGB in their Nikon D1 review, so I decided to see if this worked with my DCS 560 files, and lo and behold it does. It also makes the photo of London bridge above, in the 14n review, look a lot more natural (minus a bit brightness and a contrast boost make it look more pleasing than the 1Ds shot - except for the odd colour patches near the edge of the image, apparently a consequence of the "lens optimisation" routine).

Here are some examples shot with my DCS 560 (coincidentally also on the south bank, except for Ulorin), on the left straight out of Adobe Camera Raw, on the right after a profile change to NTSC and then back to sRGB:

Here's a sample shot with a DCS 460, which seemed to have its own problems with colour and doesn't improve quite as well:

So, er, if you're wrestling with colour from a 1998-era Kodak DCS 560 or 660 or 760 - it has a positive effect on the DCS 760 samples in DPReview's article, although I'm confused by this as the review mentions Kodak's software using an sRGB-esque colour space naturally - this is worth a try.

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